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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

192                                            THE BHJXT
of many of the actual leaders of the movement are instinct with a spirit of
asceticism and detachment from the world and a sincere piety, which are very
different from the ordinary outcome of Hinduism. Bat in no case did this
catholic simplicity last for more Hian a single generation. The great teacher
had no sooner passed away than his very first successor hedged ronnd his little
band of followers -with new -casts restrictions, formulated a series of narrow
dogmas out of what had Ibeen intended as comprehensive exhortations to holiness
and good works ; and substituted for au interior devotion and mystical love—
which were at least pure in intent, &ongh perhaps scarcely attainable in practice
by ordinary humanity—an extravagant system of outward worship with all the
sensual accompaniments of gross and material passion.
The Bhakt-mala? thongh an infallible oracle, is an exceedingly obscure one,
and requires a practised hierophant for its interpretation. It gives no legend
at length^ but consists throughout of a series of the "briefest allusions to legends,
which, are supposed to be already well-known. Without some such previous
knowledge the poem is absolutely unintelligible. Its concise notices have
therefore been expanded into more complete lives by different modern writers,
both In Hindi and Sanskrit. One of these paraphrases is entitled the Bhakt
Sindhn, and the author, by name Lakshman? is said to have taken great pains
to verify his facts. But though his success may satisfy the Hindu mind? which
is constitutionally tolerant of chronological Inaccuracy ? he falls very far below
the requirements of European criticism. His work is however useful, since it
gives a number of floating traditions; which could otherwise be gathered only
from oral communications with the G-osains of the different sects^ who? as a
rule, are very averse to speak OE such matters with outsiders.
The four mala divisions, or Sampradayas3 as they are called, of the reformed
Vaishnavas are the Sri Vaishnavaj the Nimbarak Yaishnava, the Madhva
Yaishnava, and the Vishnu Sw&mi. The last sect is now virtually extinct ;
for though the name is occasionally retained, their doctrines were entirely re-
modelled in the sixteenth century "by the famous G-oktd Gosain Vallahhdchaiya,
after whom "his adherents are ordinarily styled either Vallabhacharyas or
Crokulastlia Gosains. Their history and tenets will find more appropriate place
in connection witib the town of Gokni, which, is still their head-quarters.
The Sri Sampradaya was altogether unknown at Brinda-ban till quite re*
ijj when the two brothers of Seth Lakhmi Chand, after abjuring lie Jaini
faith, were enlisted in its ranks, and by the advice of the 0-uru, who had is*
eeiv«i their submission, founded at enormous cost the great temple of Bang J!